If you are a writer then you are a reader. It’s what we do. Or at least, it’s what we should do. Reading keeps a writer sharp. I have discovered more than a few new words and phrases that I know I can use in my own writing. What? You don’t know all the words in the English language, Shawn? You mean to tell me that you read in order to “steal” another writer’s words and phrases? You can’t dream up your own? You flat out copy other writers?
Hell ya! Words and phrases are the building blocks of story. And we are storytellers first and foremost, aren’t we? Some people use the term wordsmith. But that doesn’t mean we “make” the words we use. We “learn” the words we use. And the best way to learn words is to read. So if I come across an author who uses a word I haven’t used before or a combination of words I find amazing, you can be sure I will acquire them. Anyone who claims otherwise is flat out lying.
That said, there is such a thing as plagiarism, and, of course, I am absolutely against plagiarism. Plagiarism is copying another writer’s work. That’s bad. Don’t do this. But “stealing” a word or using a phrase that another writer has used to glorious effect is exactly why we read!
Okay, I started writing this blog post with the desire to write about audio books, and though the first three paragraphs seem to be about anything but audio books, I assure you that there is a tie in here.
I began this blog as a way to share my thoughts and knowledge about self-publishing. We self-published writers have to do everything for ourselves. From writing the book, to hiring an editor and cover artist to marketing and distribution, it’s all up to us. Making your book into an audio book is no exception. If you have an insane desire to do ALL things yourself, you may be tempted to try and read your own book into a $20 microphone from Staples that you hooked to your laptop. Like plagiarism, that’s bad. Don’t do this. We are writers, not actors with voice skills. Audio book listeners, like book readers, are easily turned off by bad art. Bad writing = lost reader. Bad voice skills = lost listener. Instead, you need to hire someone to read your book for you. Trust me on this. No matter how good you think you sound, you need to hire a professional.
Thankfully there is ACX! ACX is a subsidiary of Amazon and is a marketplace where you can listen to various voice actors and hire one to read your book. Visit AXC.com to see for yourself. They make it extremely easy to get started. But before you do, I highly recommend that you do one very important thing first. Okay, so here’s the tie in I promised you. You must listen to a number of audio books first, preferably in your genre. Why? Because listening to audio books is where you will learn what makes a good audio book. It is akin to reading if you are a writer. Reading is where a writer learns what makes a good written book. It is where we learn those incredible words and phrases that we will use to build our work. Likewise, listening to audio books before you make one is crucial. You should be asking yourself a few questions as you listen. Do I want a voice talent who can dramatize my book? And if so, how dramatic do I want it to be? Do I envision a woman or a man reading my book? Do I want the voice talent to have an accent? Does the voice match the genre or age level of the material? By listening to audio books in your genre you will get a feel for what make one better than another and apply that to your own audio book endeavor. Just like we do when we read.
After listening to a fair share of audio books in my particular genre, young adult fantasy, I chose the uber-talented Jus Sargeant from England to read my book. Here is a link to Chapter One: CLICK HERE
Shawn P Cormier
Author of Nomadin
My Website: www.pineviewpress.com